The term "going postal" became part of the American lexicon decades ago for unfortunate reasons — a slew of incidents during which postal workers lashed out violently at co-workers, including one in Edmond, Oklahoma circa 1986 that left fourteen people dead.
As such, neither local law enforcers nor the federal kind take it lightly when a postal employee shows up at work armed to the teeth.
Especially not one already named in a protection order.
Which brings us to Schmuck of the Week honoree Mauro Emilio Pennini.
Pennini's Facebook page, on which he goes by Emilio rather than his first name, notes that he's originally from Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom. But he's currently a resident of Aspen and had most recently been working as a mail sorter at the post office there.
Currently, according to the Aspen Times, he's on leave from this position pending the outcome of cases being pressed against him locally and by the feds.
The Aspen post office.
On May 22, according to an affidavit cited by the U.S. Attorney's office, a temporary protection order was obtained against Pennini by "a female and two minors" who aren't being named. The order, which was subsequently made permanent, maintained that Pennini constituted "a credible threat...that an immediate danger exists to the life and health of the Protected Persons named in the action, and sufficient cause exists for the issuance of a Civil Protection Order."
Specifically, Pennini was told not to contact, stalk, harass or injure any member of this trio — but on June 8, he sent one of them a text message anyhow.
Shortly thereafter, Pennini was arrested by members of the Aspen Police Department at the post office, located at a benign sounding address: 235 Puppy Smith Street. But the items a cop found in a bag the suspect brought with him to work, after Pennini asked him to retrieve some medication for him, certainly held the potential for harm.
Included were "a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun loaded with fourteen rounds of ammunition," the U.S. Attorney's Office notes, plus "a switch-blade knife, three folding knives, a multi-purpose tool and knife, two sets of handcuffs and two magazines with fourteen rounds of ammunition in each."
At that point, the anticipated charge of violating a protection order was joined by suspicion of illegal weapons possession.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney John Walsh said, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to keep postal employees and their customers safe. Possessing a firearm while under a protective order and while on federal property are violations of federal law and will be prosecuted.”
After all, none of us wants a U.S. Postal Service employee — or anyone else, for that matter — going postal.
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Earlier this week, Pennini pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Here's a look at his booking photo.